Storium For Schools Brings Narration, Gameplay to the Classroom

A new online program called Storium has a new way to keep students engaged with learning: it turns creative writing into a multiplayer game on the internet. Storium for Schools will permit educators to use the game to instruct students in composition, reading comprehension, and creative thinking skills while maintaining pupils’ interest. Not just limited to English class, it will also permit students to study  history and literature in an online world:

“Imagine if, instead of presenting the themes of a famous novel, you could have your students interact with that theme themselves, in a story they’re telling,” said Protagonist Labs CEO Stephen Hood. “It becomes so much more than just an answer on a test. It allows them to take ownership of that knowledge and make it relevant to them. That’s what we’re after.”

Students can use their computer, tablet, or smartphone and choose from an array of made-up universes to play in or build their own. Students and players can make up their story’s characters and make choices as to what happens.. The software’s Kickstarter.com describes:

Storium uses familiar game concepts inspired by card games, role-playing games, video games, and more. In each Storium game, one player is the narrator, and everyone else takes on the role of a character in the story. The narrator creates dramatic challenges for the other players to overcome. In doing so, they move the story forward in a new direction. Everyone gets their turn at telling the story.

In its first 24 hours on Kickstarter.com, a funding website, Storium collected first $150,000, and has currently raised more than $250,000. Protagonist Labs, the company that started Storium, was founded in 2013 by Stephen Hood and Josh Whiting, reports PRNewswire. Their goal is to open a pathway to human creativity through technology. Their creative team has amassed many years of experience in engineering, product design, game design, writing, film, art direction, transmedia, and much more.

The original version of Storium, geared towards fans of all genres of books, has met with rave reviews in its beta testing phase. Science fiction, tech and fantasy website IO9.com writes:

What this boils down to is a collaborative story, with the narrative baton being passed back and forth based on the loose structure of the challenges and the player cards. There is, of course, no ultimate goal and no winner. The Narrator role is something like the GM in an RPG, in that she directs the story and describes the game world to the players. There are some big differences, though — primarily, it works better if you leave things very open-ended, without too rigid of a predefined plot. You’ll start with some cool locations and interesting characters, and then just let them bounce off of each other and see what makes sparks fly.